Sunday, January 2, 2011

Day by Day- 12/27/10-1/2/11

0 miles...unless you count walking around in stores. Went with Sam to return some stuff, get some dinner, and by groceries. Yes, it took pretty much all day. I wasn't thrilled to not get a run in, but I can't complain. Sat around in the morning and got lots of reading done, intermittently stopping to watch the ice melt off my roof.
30 miles- Headed for the North Country Trail with Jason. Our Goal was to leave the staging area before dawn, and we managed to do so. We intended to make a few stops, eat from our backpacks, and enjoy the snow. I'll post a write-up in another post. We were shooting for 50, but fell short for a few reasons. The snow and extra weight provided a pretty intense workout. It was great for training, but I only recall a few moments of being in the groove of effortless flight, my usual favorite thing about trail running. Certainly a very unfavorable ratio of effort/speed but it was a great experience.
11 miles- Left my house for some easy running to shake out my tired legs and feet. The only part that continued to hurt was my bruised back from yesterday's fastpacking adventure. The sun was shining brightly today and the run was great. I, for some reason, needed music to get my lazy self out the door, but turned it off after a few choice Incubus songs got me into a groove. Hopped onto some train tracks to get off the road for a bit and mix it up with a few miles of fist-sized rocks and the off camber slope of the tracks. I found it pretty impressive how the trees and brush continually try to overtake the railroad.
0 miles of running- Very frustrating day, but also enjoyable. Wanted to get a run in, but never found the time. Left in the morning for Grand Rapids to see the Bodies Revealed exhibit at the museum. Fantastic display and a fun trip with Sam, my sister(Megain), brother in-law, and mother. It was a really fun experience, but consumed the entire day by the time we returned home. further proof that even with a huge amount of padding, I can still manage to run low mileage weeks. I'll just keep telling myself that is part of the "off season."
9 miles- Possibly one of the nastiest days of weather this winter. The snow is gone, relplaced by pouring rain, mud and ice. I sit now, in front of my computer, eating a rather gross Hot Pocket, trying to find th motivation to run in the rain.
The rain let up around 1pm, so I headed to the trails at Muskegon State Park. I left the watch(and therefore odometer) at home and just ran around in a t-shirt and shorts for a while. The plan was to run the singletracks and hills until I felt tired, then go home. I did so, then hit the beach for about 30 minutes of barefoot running. No shoes(wore my MT100s for the majority of the run), t-shirt, shorts, and the beach...on New Years Eve? In Michigan? I learned never to get in the habit of dressing a certain way. Im not sure how far I ran, but lots of technical, icy singletrack sureley slowed my pace. I ended up running for a couple minutes shy of 2 hours. I stopped to watch some deer, picked up some garbage on the Muskegon Lake side of the beach, and climbed a tree to watch some waves roll in from the highest hill in the park, so I'll call it 9 miles to err on the conservative side.
5 miles- Sam and I made a trip to the State Park to do some hiking/running. It was incredibly cold, but we managed to get 5 miles in before calling it quits. We(especially I) underestimated the severity of the weather, but were quickly shown before even parking the car-several other park visitors were entirely covered and wearing parkas. We typically run the downhills and the flats, and power up the hills. I like this because hiking up steep, technical grades works my leg and core muscles differently than running. It takes longer and requires a bit more power than agility. Running is, of course, better training. Hiking was still a great way to spend 2 hours or so outside. The waves were huge on the lake, but my hands were far too cold to snap any shots.
20 miles- Jason and I planned on a night run due to schedule-related convenience and for a training effect. The better we can be accustomed to running at night, the better off we will be when I accompany him on the latter portion of Western States. I have spotty memories from our night at burning river...and I was merely the pacer. Learning to run when my body wants to sleep is definitely something I need to work on. Hiking 5miles, going out with friends, taking a 1 hour nap, and then running 20 miles in 5-8 degree weather seemed like a good idea at the time. We started out miserable, but quickly warmed up and I had a really enjoyable run. For some reason, the cold and dark gave a certain feel of adventure and mystery that made the empty town and roads seem not only bearable, but fun. I stopped at McDonalds afterward for 2 breakfast sandwiches and went home to pass out for a couple hours. More running in the afternoon seemed really inviting, but I ran out of time. My legs felt a little sore, but generally fresh after 5 hours of sleep. Better off saving my legs to start a new week fresh.
75 miles
This week has treated me really well, especially considering that I took 3 rest days. If all of my training weeks looked this way, I'd find myself with a great aerobic base, but leg speed would soon begin to vanish. At the end of most of my runs, I do some sort of very short intervals(typically a couple fast 1/4 mile accelerations) to remember what quick turnover feels like. This is helping to maintain, but is doing little to improve speed. Off season is beautiful- low mileage AND neglecting speedwork AND gaining a little weight. Im slowly starting to develop a little enthusiasm for high mileage and speed again.


  1. What type of shoes were using in the picture above? It's new year and I want to start running every day. I also want to get rid of my conventional running shoes. I'm thinking of buying a new pair. I'm not sure if you're familiar with these shoes- Vibram Five Fingers and Zem. These shoes are minimalist which also mimics the feeling of being barefooted. Can you recommend either of them? Here are the links below, but I need help from real people who are into running. Thanks a bunch!

  2. Cynthia-
    Sorry I didn't respond earlier. In the pic above, Im wearing Vibram KSO treks. Mark(Left) is wearing KSOs, and Jeremiah(center) is wearing New Balance MT100s. If you fit into vibrams well, I would certainly recommend them. Some people like the Bikila model, but I prefer the the older sole found on the KSO, Sprint,and Classic models. Im on my 3rd pair of the KSOs, but also own the treks for trailrunning. The Trek has a slighly thicker sole and better traction. If for some reason Vibrams dont fit you right, I would recommend you try the Terra Plana EVO or the soon-to-be released New Balance Minimus or Merrel TrailGlove. Feel free to ask any other questions.